If you’ve ever gone to a restaurant and received a beautifully-plated, tiny portion of food, you may have been left astonished. After all, it was probably costly and the portion size probably looked a bit… unproportional. Fortunately, there are interesting reasons for this.

In this article from Enlighten, we explain the reasons why servings at high-end restaurants are getting smaller and smaller. Let us warn you — you may end up surprised and curious to try fine dining.

1. Each dish has pricey ingredients.

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Dishes with refined, carefully chosen ingredients are quite common to find in high end restaurants. A pound of Wagyu beef could go for $200 and a kilogram of caviar costs about $10,000. Imagine creating a full packed dish with these and adding Italian white truffles (about $7,500 per kg). The price would be extremely high!

Considering that these places, which use high-quality ingredients, may even import them, it is easy to understand why portions have to be smaller in order to provide an affordable end price of the dish.

2. Smaller portions are more elegant.

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Smaller servings will be easier to style and will probably look more elegant for the customer who enjoys it — first with their eyes and then with their palate.

3. You’ll be able to taste a little bit of everything.

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Usually, most restaurants serve a 3 course meal — with an appetizer, the main dish, and a dessert. Sometimes, we even end up ordering just the main dish. In fine dining, the number of courses may add up to 12 different dishes!

Those 12 courses include finger foods, appetizers, soup, salad, fish, a first main course, a palate cleanser, the second main course, cheese, dessert, and a drink/pastry. Imagine eating all of that if they were served in regular portions! That is why restaurants reduce the amount of food, so you get to taste a little bit of everything.

4. Each dish is a chef’s work of art.

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There is a French dish called Gargouillou, which is composed of at least 16 different, separately cooked, vegetables. The plate is arranged as a work of art and is sure to impress any customer who sees this respectable canvas on a plate.

Imagine trying to beautifully arrange all these tiny vegetables on an already full plate. It probably would not look as aesthetically pleasing as the one in the picture. For that, chefs prefer to stick with reduced portions.

5. Every bite will be memorable in taste and you won’t get bored with the food.

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The first bites you take from a meal taste the best. That is because your taste buds will become less sensitized as you eat. Knowing that, chefs focus on the dishes’ quality rather than the quantity. By serving smaller portions, we tend to be able to better enjoy each mouthful, rather than get bored with large amounts of a regular meal.

6. It gives the impression of a premium, good quality dish.

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Being part of an exclusive event or owning a limited edition object is something some of us feel proud of. The saying, “less is more” and “good things come in small packages” firmly applies to this one.

It is no surprise that having access to luxury places and food brings the same emotions, especially when the dish contains small amounts of ingredients we assume are of good quality.

7. It is unusual and raises our expectations.

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Seeing a plate with such a small quantity of food makes us wonder what the actual reason is for it. But being at a dinner that has several courses of food will surely make us curious to know what the next dish holds for us. The expectation is just so interesting!

What was the tiniest portion of food you’ve ever received? Was it worth the price? What was your best fine dining experience?